Hiatus refers to a break in a vocalic sequence whereby each vowel belongs to a different syllable. For instance, the word hiatus [haɪ.e.təs] exhibits the phenomenon where the " . " marks the syllable break between the diphthong [aɪ] and the monophthong [e]. Many languages avoid hiatus by deleting a vowel or by adding a consonant via epenthesis.
For information on Hiatus in Scottish Gaelic see Hiatus.
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- Hualde, José and Monica Prieto (2002) On the diphthong/hiatus contrast in Spanish: some experimental results. Linguistics 40: 217-234.